Up on Ladders

I have the week off work and my dad’s home from Ottawa! With his help, I’ve been working away at my (not-so) tiny to-do list.

Goals for the week:

  • Fix the ridge
  • Finish the house wrap
  • Add the ridge caps (and foam closure strips)
  • And at Dad’s suggestion: install the door!


The collar ties didn’t seem to be doing their job after all, as the walls were spread wider at the top than they should’ve been. The collar ties would theoretically stop us from being able to pull the walls in, so Dad yanked the nails out and took them down.


My dad, the happy camper

I made new, longer collar ties (and sanded them this time).

I had already bought 10′ 2x4s to jack up the ridge again (having used up all the long lumber I had) and Dad screwed two together in a “T” for strength. We used that and it was much sturdier than the previous time I did this. I shouldn’t have to do this again!


We jacked the roof up to just slightly higher than where I wanted it, and installed two collar ties, lower this time. This also pulled the walls in to where they were supposed to be. We added some hurricane ties to the four rafters, tying them to the walls. Then we moved the jack to raise the roof in a second spot for the last two collar ties. Those ties are difficult to put into the corners with the roof on, and it was getting dark, so we called it a day.

We brought out a light, a little stove, and had supper together in my little house! We had soup and hot chocolate in my future living room. 🙂


The lights are on, somebody must be home!




I spent Monday doing a little shopping. I looked at flooring! I’m mostly decided on a dark brown hand-scraped engineered hardwood, but I’m nervous about picking something too dark. I like dark wood stains; I just don’t want a dark colour to make the tiny house seem small. I like the hand-scraped because it looks and feels a little worn in rather than shiny new, and when I inevitably dent or scratch it, it will blend in. I want engineered hardwood because it’s thinner (and lighter) than hardwood, and it expands/shrinks less than hardwood. But I don’t want laminate or anything cheap, because I enjoy walking around barefoot and I want something that feels real underfoot. It’s a small enough space so I can afford to get something that’s more expensive per square foot.


A sample of stained hickory on top of a popular colour of laminate.

A lighter colour might be the safer choice, but I want a flooring I love.

As for the bathroom, I was thinking of doing cork, because it’s warm and cushy on the feet, it doesn’t absorb water, and it’s a renewable material. But I hadn’t found a style of cork I liked, until…


White cork!?

The reason I went flooring shopping was to find out how thick of a flooring I’m going to get. I needed to know how much clearance I needed for the swing of my front door. I might not buy the flooring until after I’ve finished building my kitchen though.


I got a massage as a treat to my poor shoulders, and then proceeded to spend the rest of the day (after a nap) hammering to finish adding the brackets to the rafters. So that might’ve defeated the purpose of the massage. Dad and I also went for a hike and had hot chocolate again, this time by a waterfall! Tiny houses, to me, are partly meant to encourage you to go outside more, and it’s already working! 😛


Because the brackets had to go in tight corners, it was such a pain to get the nails in. I’d guess each bracket with its eight nails took about 100 hits, making that 2200 swings of a hammer to get all the brackets in. Oww.



I spent Wednesday working on the top strips of house wrap, so more hammering and more shin bruises from ladders.


I’m enjoying just getting out there and getting to work. It’s not often we single task these days. Focusing on one physical task and doing only that thing makes me feel a lot less scattered and stressed. So did the yoga class Dad and I went to in the evening. 🙂 It’s shaped up to be a great week!


I had a lot of little things on my to-do list for Thursday, including several trips to different hardware stores for buying and returning. And I managed to check everything off my list by the end of the day!

I finished the last piece of house wrap, took the support beam out – the collar ties are holding, and did some measuring especially for the door.



I bought wood to frame the door (the rough opening is a lil bit big), shims, caulking, and a doorknob! I also returned some extra brackets. I brought back half of the plastic capped nails for a refund of $46! I don’t know what happened with numbers there, but I did not need them all!

I’ve been keeping my tiny house Excel document up to date with my spending and time log.

Then I spent my evening with friends. 🙂

I’m taking the build one day at a time and trying to keep some balance.


A source of stress (and nightmares) for me has been rain and my subfloor. I know that before the roof was up, water got below my subfloor. Water can be very bad for a house!

I tested the floor by cutting out a small puck of wood to see the underside:


Dry, with no rot or mold! PHEW.

I will test another spot or two later. There is some water sitting on top of the insulation, unfortunately. Once the house in sealed for the winter, I’ll be able to heavily de-humidify the space. I’m very glad I chose spray foam and not wool or Roxul insulation, and plywood instead of OSB. It’s worth the money to not have your materials disintegrate or turn to mush!

With that little piece of mind, I worked on getting the door opening ready! I also added house wrap to my porch ceiling, which will get covered later by some art hopefully. 🙂


All taped up. I cut open the entrance window so I’ll be able to hop in and out when we’re installing the door.

I’ve worked after dark a few times, a consequence of sleeping in, but it gets dark earlier and earlier…


P.S. This is my 200th post!


Shell Budget: Trailer/Floor

The second part of my budget is the Shell. It includes everything from the wall studs to the roofing material. When the shell is done, the house will look complete from the outside, with windows and siding.

The first category in my shell budget, Trailer/Floor, is all done and filled in:

My Trailer, from Warman’s Welding in New Brunswick, was over budget at $7015. Read about why it’s over budget here.

Gas was over budget at $402.50. I assumed I’d pick up the trailer, but then I found out they deliver. It didn’t save me money, but it saved me the stress and time of going to get it myself.

My budget for all-threaded rods was zero because they were included in the cost of the trailer, but then they ended up in the wrong spots. I paid a welder to grind them off, put rods in the right places, and add a few so the house is secured at more points. That cost $253.05.

For Insulation, I was way over budget at $1217.15. I had originally planned to use Roxul, but I wouldn’t have been able to get enough Roxul into the trailer frame for a high enough R-value. I chose spray foam instead and it worked out well.

For Glue, I was slightly over budget at $27.56. I used four tubes out of the six I bought, so I’m only including the cost of the four.

For Plywood, I was over budget at $248.66. I didn’t realize how expensive it is! Most builders use OSB because it’s cheap, but it also swells and it’s heavy. I decided that less weight and warping were worth the extra money.

For Metal Screws, I was over budget at $74.40. Specialty fasteners are of course more expensive, and I melted so many! There are less than 300 in the trailer, but I had to buy 500.

This was a painful category. I estimated I’d spend $6815 and I spent $9238.32. That’s $2423.32 over budget 😦 I’m jealous of tiny housers who found cheaper trailers and didn’t spend so much on insulation, but in the end, I’m okay with investing in the foundation of my house. The one thing I’d change is I would get the trailer delivered earlier so I’d have more summer build time.

The Start of a Subfloor

On Monday morning before I worked, I paid the welder $250. Ouch. Then Mum and I went and bought another sheet of plywood, a sheet of 1/2″ plywood, some 1x4s, and more glue. I also bought some screws later.

The way the crossmembers are, I can’t get all the pieces I need out of 6 sheets, so I needed one more for the subfloor. We got the 1/2″ cut into 12″ strips to use for homemade fences/guides. After my shift, Mum and I made two fences, a four-foot one and an eight-foot one. I tried cutting again with the circular saw, but the fence moved again! We didn’t get much else done before dark.

It was supposed to rain on Tuesday so Mum and I put together a make-shift tarp out of some thicker plastic Mum had. We fit that as best we could over the trailer:

It rained a little overnight but ended up being a nice day. Dylan and I went up to see the property where we want to park and talked with the landowner, who showed us a couple of potential spots. Septic would need to be worked out, so I have to call someone about that, but it definitely seems doable!

Today, Dylan helped me 🙂 We worked on the subfloor. Here’s the test cut with the new fence:

Mum found better clamps for me, and Dylan and I also put clamps next to the fence as well. It worked! So we cut that to length, measured the location of the rods, and I drilled some holes.

It fits 🙂

Cutting holes is fun!

Drilling holes is fun!

Then we realized that there was water under the plastic as well as on top of it. We dried out the trailer with the shop vac and towels. It’s changing colour…

The center and right sections had water in them :(

The center and right sections had water in them 😦

The first piece of plywood is pretty darn square, but the crossmember it lands on isn’t. Dylan cut off a little sliver so the plywood ends in the middle of the crossmember.

Then we cut out the square for the porch:

Thanks for sharing your tools with us, Dad.

Baby steps!

Insulation Clean-Up

The insulation had its 24 hours to cure, but by then all the little foam bits the insulator cut off were imbedded in the grass. That was frustrating to clean up. But my boyfriend, Dylan, came over and helped. He and I also went over the trailer with a long metal ruler, a knife, and the shop vac to make sure there was no insulation higher than the crossmembers. Vacuuming up the evil little pieces of spray foam was almost fun compared to trying to sweep the driveway while it was windy.

It does not squish easily. Spray foam adds structural integrity, not that the trailer needed it, but it will be good for the house.

It does not squish easily. Spray foam adds structural integrity, not that the trailer needed it, but it will be good for the house.

I'm not sure if it was sunlight that affected the colour, but you can tell by the lighter spots the pieces Dylan and I cut off.

I’m not sure if it was sunlight that affected the colour, but you can tell by the lighter spots the pieces Dylan and I cut off.

I think I’m going to spend a lot more time cleaning up than I expected.

Trailer Insulation!

This is all happening so fast. My trailer is now filled with spray foam. Craziness!

Protecting Mum's favourite tree.

Protecting Mum’s favourite tree from over-spray.





Starting to spray!

Starting to spray!

It’s kinda cool that I was able to see the spraying. Normally you have to be out of the house, but since the trailer’s outside, I watched (and took pictures) safely from inside.

1st layer going in.

1st layer going in.

2nd layer filling up.

2nd layer filling up.

The spray is dark at first, but then lightens as it expands.

The spray is dark at first, but then lightens as it expands.

Done, in less than an hour!

Done, in less than an hour!

Taking off the tape.

Taking off the tape.

He also used a knife to clean up the places that were higher than the crossmembers. Also, notice how he took off his mask and gloves? I know it’s out in open air, but you’re supposed to stay out of the area for at least 24 hours for the foam to off-gas and cure.

I’m glad it’s all done, but my appointment was for 8:30 this morning. I got up at 7 to finish drying out the trailer. I toweled it dry and no one came! I called them after 9 o’clock when no one arrived, and they told me the guy hadn’t left (the place is an hour away) and was considering the weather. Yes, it was misting, but I still should’ve received a call! The woman who answered the phone told me she’d call back around noon to tell me whether or not the guy could come later when it was supposed to be sunnier. At 10, it was sunny, so I called her to tell her and to ask a few questions. She said she would call back in fifteen minutes to give me a time. At 12:15, she finally called and said that he would arrive between 2 and 3pm. At 4:40, after much discussion about how Maritimers are notoriously late and unreliable, just as I was about to give up waiting, the truck pulled up. He was out of the driveway again by 6 o’clock, and since I paid with cash, I got a small discount 🙂 Every bit saved counts! Despite the long day of waiting, I can’t believe how fast things are moving along!

Bye bye money.

Bye bye money.

They'll be back when the shell is done to insulate the rest.

They’ll be back when the shell is done to insulate the rest.

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